although not a historical site, this ribajeto inn's classical architecture and red-tiled roof are quaint, and the area invites country walks along a dam and its neighboring waters. be sure to visit tomar's downtown just a few minutes away. from $84.

pousada do castelo de palmela
palmela, 011-351-212-351-226

nestled within the village castle and an old convent cloister, this inn on a hill in ribatejo offers a panoramic view of the city. from $106.

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lisbon basics
the best thing about exploring portugal's wine regions is that you can begin your journey in lisbon, the country's capital. with pastel tile buildings, trolleys, and hills with dramatic views of the water, lisbon feels like a shabby chic version of san francisco.

where to stay
the hotel lisboa plaza (011-351-213-218-200) offers close proximity to downtown, a courteous staff, and a cozy, elegant interior. double occupancy, including breakfast, about $136. outside lisbon, try the unique and historic pousadas, state-run inns in rural settings; reserve a room through pousadas de portugal (800-223-1356 or www.pousadas.pt/index.html).

where to eat
savor an upscale meal at espaço (011-351-213-610-212), a former factory and now one of the hottest tables in town. lisbon has several fado clubs, where guests can eat, drink, and listen to singers belting out this portuguese cousin of the blues. try casa do fado ( 011-351-218-823-470).